Wigan Athletic 'branding' a focus for Talal Al Hammad

He wants promotion within five years and dreams of guiding Wigan Athletic back into Europe.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 7:46 am
Talal Al Hammad at the DW on Saturday

But new chairman Talal Al Hammad is under no illusions they face a difficult League One campaign as they try and repair the damage inflicted by the club’s plunge into administration.

And once that has been achieved, one of his major goals will be improving the profile of Latics.

In his first interview on English soil, he detailed why he believes the club’s brand is not as strong as it should be, particularly given they won the FA Cup in 2013 and spent eight seasons until that point in the Premier League.

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Talal said: “I know expectations are high outside the club, but we know this season will be very long and very tough.

“Our priority, first and foremost, is to stabilise the club, and have as many quality people working here with us as possible. And looking longer term, I would like to focus on the branding and the profile of the club.

“I look back to when this club was in the Premier League – at the pinnacle for eight years – and I feel it was a mistake not to focus on the branding.

“It was always going to be difficult to stay there, because there are numerous examples of clubs who have not managed to stay there anywhere near that long.

“That would have been the best time to market the brand, it would have been much easier.

“But we will work hard to do that from here, and try to bring the club to a wider audience – and that means in our region as well as over here.

“Only around 30 clubs I think have won the FA Cup - and Wigan Athletic are one of them.

“Some very big clubs around at the moment have never won a major trophy.

“I feel you have a right to brand yourself if you are in that elite company, and be proud of what has been achieved here. Obviously the focus will always be in England, but we will also look to start a campaign back home to take advantage of that interest.

“Everybody back home is already asking how they can buy the new jersey, and we are also looking at having Arabic pages to follow the club.”

Talal has used the last few days meeting many fans and community leaders, and took in a tour which included a visit to Uncle Joe’s and – of course – a pie for dinner.

His keenness to immerse himself among the supporters has won him many admirers.

“Of course a massive part of the future is to have a strong relationship with the fans, and ensure they are as much a part of the club as can be,” he said.

“We have also found the council very supportive so far.

“They are happy to work with us, and we are happy to work with them.

“It’s not a challenge, it’s not a fight... it is sitting round a table and working out how we can help each other.

“This is not just a project for the club, it’s also a project for the town.”